California Braces for More Rolling Blackouts

California blackouts (App Gomes / AFP / Getty)
Apu Gomes / AFP / Getty

California residents were warned Saturday evening of the imminent possibility of rolling electricity blackouts due to high demand in the middle of a another heat wave.

Several weeks ago, hundreds of thousands of customers in northern and central California lost power as Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) lacked capacity in the late afternoon and early evening. Part of the problem was attributed to the lack of available solar and wind power, as Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged.

Officials warned Saturday that blackouts could be possible over the next several days, as the San Jose Mercury News noted:

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) declared a Stage 2 emergency order Saturday around 6 p.m., meaning that rotating blackouts throughout the state could be expected if people didn’t conserve energy from 3 to 9 p.m. The grid operator had previously issued a Flex Alert, asking customers to conserve energy from Saturday to Monday during a statewide heat wave in order to not overpower the grid system. The conservation of energy helps the power grid maintain reliability during the heat wave, according to ISO.

The ISO said the grid system is strained due to a loss of 1,600 megawatts of power — roughly equivalent to the amount electricity to power 1.2 million homes. The loss of power was from a combination of fires, high temperatures and load on the system. After 9 p.m., the ISO reported there were no blackouts.

PG&E also warned customers Saturday that a “Public Safety Power Shutoff,” might be needed Monday and Tuesday to help prevent wildfire danger. The warning is due to an offshore wind event expected late Monday night through Wednesday morning, the public utility announced Saturday afternoon. The conditions could require a power shutoff since high temperatures, extreme dryness and record-high winds throughout the state could cause sparks that can lead to major wildfires.

Newsom said last month that the state needed to “sober up” about the limits of solar and wind power, which California has embraced in an early version of “Green New Deal” policy aimed at moving the state to 100% renewable energy by 2045.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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